This month we snuggle up to hotel boss and Snow Hill sprinter, Tony Elvin
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Tony Elvin. Essex boy in exile. That hotel manager with the beard. West Ham fan. Wine enthusiast. I live in Shirley with my wife Lucy, who works at Colmore BID, and 14-year-old daughter Isobel who is at school in Solihull. As general manager of Hotel du Vin & Bistro, I take overall responsibility for everything in the hotel. I have an expert team of managers who specialise in their own areas but I get to do a bit of everything. It really is a fun job and ideal for my goldfish attention span.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
After dropping our daughter to school, my wife and I jump on the train at Whitlocks End Station to Birmingham Snow Hill. It’s about a 25-minute journey with work just around the corner. If Isobel is quick enough in the morning Mrs Elvin might even get walked to work!
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
Easy. Largely reliable service, not too far to walk home from Shirley if I’ve had a glass of wine.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
We’re really a city on the up. There’s a great buzz about the place and we’ve stopped talking about being a ‘second city’ because we’ve got enough good stuff of our own going on to bother worrying about what anyone else might be up to.
Obviously the coffee is very good here but it’s useful to get a change of scenery for a meeting and I enjoy popping into Urban Coffee over the road – great coffee served by a really friendly team.
I’m trying to watch my waistline at the moment but if I’m nipping out for a sandwich then I see the girls at Rustique on Livery Street or grab a cheeky Burrito from the van outside House of Fraser.
Running! At the moment it’s only running to Snow Hill Station, the record is just under two minutes from my desk to the train. The mad bloke in a suit sprinting up Barwick Street at 19.25 is me. I’m a bit out of practice on longer distances but hoping to put that right.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
It has to be the Colmore BID area. Fantastic architecture, buzzing gastronomic scene and a great camaraderie between the businesses.
Probably a glass of wine. And if I wasn’t in our Bubble Lounge chatting to my regulars then I would likely be visiting friends in the trade – maybe Phil at Loki, Damian at Malmaison or Will and James at Chung Ying. I’m also looking forward to Prit and Peter making a return with Primativo later this year. We really are spoilt for choice in the area with other great places like Purecraft, Bar Opus, Nosh n Quaff, etc. All on my list!
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
It’s improving all the time and very different from the place I visited 20 years ago as a young lad from Essex. At the time it was never on my agenda to return, but it really is a different place now and I have fallen in love with it. I am trying to do my bit too. I’m Trustee for the Birmingham Civic Society, a committee member for Colmore BID and part of the events team fundraising for the Birmingham Big Art Project. Improving your environment is everybody’s responsibility and I think we’re doing a pretty good job of that in Birmingham right now. Big up Brum!